Flyers “Live” Home Opener Commentary

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: This was written for The Broad Street Bully, a blog and podcast my friend Drew and I started based off of our mutual interest in the Philadelphia Flyers. See it on http://broadstreetbully.net.]

I’m not at the Flyers home opener tonight. I blame this on two reasons. One is because Drew is the worst. The other is because StubHub has added fees back into their ticket prices. For anyone who used StubHub to purchase tickets within the past two years, you may have noticed the price you saw was the price you paid. Well, that is gone now. The price you see is the price you pay after they tack on eight to ten dollars in their fees. I’m not paying eighty dollars for two tickets in the second to last row of section 209. Try again, StubHub.

Anyway, so I’m home. And sitting on my couch. And I’m ready for the Flyers game. Since I’m not doing anything else, I’ll do what I did for the season opener. Did everyone enjoy that? Nobody said they didn’t so I’m going to assume everyone did.

6:58pm: Pre puck drop. Steven Mason not starting because of a “personal family matter”. You hope it’s nothing serious as a Flyers fan and just a regular person.  Neuvirth should be serviceable if Mason has to miss one or two games. Also, Umberger swaps with Gagner and L. Schenn swaps with Gudas. I’m excited to see Gudas get some reps in a real game. I think he’s going to impress this year.

PRE-GAME OPENING CEREMONY

7:04pm: The opening hype video already looks better than the Flyers did Saturday. Let’s hope this carries over to the game, right? Although, if you have epilepsy then these quick cuts and flashing orange is probably killing you right now.

7:07pm: Hakstol always looks like he’s trying to hold a cherry between his butt cheeks. I like his style.

7:09pm: Medvedev has no idea what’s going on in this opening ceremony. I also feel like the crowd has been dead for every Flyers’ player announcement. Maybe the crowd microphones were turned down so Lou Nolan could really belt it out?

7:15pm: Do you think Steve Mason’s personal family matter had to do with Carl Winslow or Steve Urkel?

FIRST PERIOD

7:18pm: Great pinch by Gudas to keep it in. Terrible penalty by Michael Raffl. Keep your stick down. You gave up seven goals last game and now you hamstring your team two minutes into the next game against the same team.

7:20pm: Best news here is that the Flyers got through the first of the two minors. At least if the Panthers score now it doesn’t leave another penalty on the board.

7:21pm: Gudas with a good, active stick. Solid work. Neuvirth looking good in this penalty kill sequence so far.

7:23pm: Great penalty kill. Ride the momentum now, Flyers.

7:24pm: Flyers goal! I’m like a psychic. Good offensive play for the Flyers from the Couturier line. You got to see Medvedev in on the rush pressuring up front, Gagner making a good play, and Brayden Schenn cleaning up the rebound.

7:29pm: BAW-GAWD, KING! NEUVIRTH BEATING THEM LIKE A GOVERNMENT MULE! Great glove.

7:34pm: The Flyers look much better tonight. It helps not having the wind taken out of your sails two minutes in when your goalie flubs his rebound control. Sorry, Steve.

7:36pm: I still feel like if you have a closed door, players only meeting two games in then there’s some bigger issues that still need to be addressed. First one? Getting rid of Vinny. I’d like to think that’s what they talked about. The whole time. Like, they didn’t even mention anything about the game they just lost.

7:37pm: Aw, Gudas. I was throwing praise at you and then you take a roughing penalty. Come on, guy.   Flyers penalty kill will be tested again.

7:40pm: Panthers power play keeps going through Pirri. And he keeps flubbing shots. Keep it up, Pirri! Make it easy for the Flyers.

7:42pm: Flyers penalty kill looks good so far. Some good tests early on.   Don’t ice it, though. That’s bad.

7:43pm: Shawn Thornton takes a penalty for holding the stick. It’s not your pecker, Shawn. And this isn’t a bathroom. Thanks for the power play.

7:46pm: The Flyers first power play unit still looks uncomfortable. Giroux tried to force a pass in the slot that wasn’t there. They’re trying to be too perfect with their puck movement. Just shoot, guys. Also, Couturier shouldn’t get stuck taking a penalty just because Gudbranson can’t skate. I’ve seen drunken babies with Parkinson’s perform better on ice skates.

7:50pm: The good news is the Flyers have killed four power plays so far. The bad news is the Flyers have gave them four power plays so far. IN ONE PERIOD. ARE YOU SERIOUS? WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?

7:51pm: Wayne Simmonds just WAYNETRAINED whoever that was in the corner. Mother of god. That guy is going to have to relearn math. And then he just started punching people. Hot damn!

7:56pm: The first period’s over. So is Voracek’s time on the first power play unit. The net was yawning at him and he shanked it.

SECOND PERIOD

8:17pm: Second period started off ok. Neuvirth looking good with his save. Power play looking not so good still.

8:19pm: Jim Jackson referred to Trocheck as a “nifty little player.” 8/10 on the creepy scale. On a less creepy note, good shot block by Gudas.

8:22pm: Book it. Referees are for Giroux. Star power. Didn’t call that slashing penalty. NHL wants him to succeed. Other conspiracy things.

8:23pm: Why was Streit just laying there? Get up, you dolt. For a guy who is crazy old, shouldn’t you know better? Also, Ryan White: let’s be subtler if you’re going to land an axe swing on someone’s leg. Like, don’t do it front of the referee.

8:25pm: The Flyers are getting really great penalty killing from everyone. Including Giroux. He kept the puck moving around the Panthers zone to just kill some time. The Flyers look like they’re going to have a good amount of players they can run on the penalty kill lines this year.

8:28pm: Good on the Flyers to force an icing. Also, good job for hitting Thornton, Gudas.

8:30pm: The make up calls for the Flyers have to be coming. The referees have been too lopsided and you know they always try to even it up with ticky tack calls if it gets too one sided.

8:34pm: Remember when Brian Campbell was good? Neither does anyone else, I think.

8:35pm: The Flyers are throwing around a lot of body. Bellemare did some work on that hit.   Mitchell is supposed to be a bigger defenseman and he went down while yelling “timber”.

8:39pm: Luongo is such a big guy. Good job on him for taking up as much net as he could. Also, that was a good pass from Voracek to Raffl. It was just a better save by Luongo.

8:43pm: That certainly looked like a trip by Voracek in the defensive zone at full speed but the referees let it go. Then Voracek takes the puck back the other way and draws and interference penalty. Good moves.

8:47pm: The Simmonds no look redirection was cheeky. Great play. Equally great play was Luongo grabbing that shot from the point with his glove.

8:49pm: Flyers power play is getting better looks but I would still say “hot bucket of dog turds.”

8:50pm: Laughton. Come on. Bad penalty. Andy MacDonald can easily replace you at any time, Scott. Remember that.

8:52pm: Ekblad is good. Who would’ve thought getting constant high first round picks because you stink would net you some solid talent? Florida used the Pittsburgh method. It will always be the Pittsburgh method because Pittsburgh is the worst.

8:53pm: The second period’s over. The Flyers penalty killers have been totally on fleek tonight. But they seriously need to stop taking so many penalties because this is getting ridiculous.

THIRD PERIOD

9:12pm: Flyers got lucky there. Not the start to the third period the Flyers were looking for.

9:15pm: It’s only gotten worse for the Flyers. Panthers are smothering them right now.

9:16pm: Good idea by Del Zotto to just get it towards the net to try to create something. Luongo just has too much reach.

9:19pm: It looks like Hakstol is committed to running all four lines. That’s good. The fourth line also gets out there and moves the puck pretty well in the offensive zone. When it gets down the stretch, they’ll need everyone playing to win those important games.

9:26pm: At least there’s some consistent back and forth now. The period’s evening out a bit. Not a lot of stoppages either. That means the Flyers are finally avoiding taking penalties.

9:32pm: Well, I’ve seen all I need to see. Neuvirth is the starter now and we should probably trade Mason. That’s some solid work tonight by Neuvirth after getting notice he was starting this morning.

9:34pm: Ryan White shot it right at Luongo’s chest and then followed it up by talking some smack. Nice.

9:39pm: Now is a good time for the Flyers to just keep it in Florida’s zone for the rest of the game.

9:42pm: I hate you, Nick Schultz. Don’t do this to me. Clear it the first time, guy! And don’t ice it. Flyers got lucky that Florida called a timeout to draw up a play.

9:43pm: There was a shot of Lappy on the bench talking to Hakstol. He still wears his microphone wire stupid but at least it wasn’t stretched across the front of him this time.

9:44pm: And that’s the game! Hakstol gets his first regulation win. Neuvirth picks up his first win with the Flyers, his first, and the Flyers’ first shut out of the season. Good work, boys.

FINAL THOUGHTS

  • I’m not taking a wild stance here by saying the Flyers have to figure out how not to take so many penalties going forward. They can’t sustain as many penalty kills as they had all night on a consistent basis.
  • However, the Flyers penalty killers proved tonight that they can handle a heavy workload if they have too. And that’s good. Hakstol also rotated penalty killers so they got a lot of players involved in the penalty killing process.
  • Neuvirth stepped in and proved he can come up big when it matters. This is what Hextall was expecting when he signed him this summer to back up Mason. He showed up and did what he had too. And he stood tall when the defense had some breakdowns.
  • After losing 7-1, the Flyers came into tonight with a tweaked lineup and their backup goalie. Yet, they came away with a 1-0 shutout win. That’s an excellent confidence booster. And they’ll need the confidence on Wednesday when they play the Blackhawks.
  • Referring to my pre-game comments of “Neuvirth should be serviceable if Mason has to miss one or two games”: Neuvirth was more than serviceable.  He was superb.
  • Referring to my pre-game comments of “Also, Umberger swaps with Gagner and L. Schenn swaps with Gudas. I’m excited to see Gudas get some reps in a real game. I think he’s going to impress this year”: Gagner picked up an assist on the only goal and Gudas looked great tonight.  Definitely better than Luke Schenn did when he played.  Gudas used his body to lay some big hits but then also to protect the puck and get it out of the zone.  Let’s hope he stays in the lineup going forward.

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